Despite what you might be led to believe from the previews, this movies’ saving grace is not Christian Bale. Nor is it the (hopefully) final revival of a franchise that is now 25 years old. What keeps this movie from being a complete waste of time is that the action, quite literally, never stops. Some 2 hours of explosions and fight scenes and robots always manages to keep you just at the edge of wondering why you spent $10 to sit in this theater.
I was too young for the first Terminator film, being all of 2 when it came out. I did finally catch it on TV one night a few years back. It served its purpose. I can see why people liked it. The second film was one of my first R rated movies, and I remember coveting it like the grail. The special effects of the time were impressive. No one can dispute that. Hell, even number 3 had some pretty cool stuff. The story was surprisingly well crafted. The twist at the end was brilliant. In all honesty, the only thing working against it was Arnold. But, and I’m sure we can all agree on this, it should have just stopped there.
The tv show? Really? After about 2 episodes I couldn’t keep up. The plot got all convoluted. Time travel has a way of doing that to popular entertainment. A slim budget kept the show from having any real action. And then it got moved to Friday nights, which is a death note for any show. Summer Glau is totally hot though. Yeah she is.
So let’s get down to the new movie. Ultimately, my biggest problem with the film is that it’s an outdated idea. Much like the style of filming, it just feels dusty. Maybe I’ve been reading too much good science fiction as of late, but I find myself wondering things like: Who is Skynet (other than a self-aware super-computer bent on destroying all humans)? Why does it want to destroy all humans? Has no one in the future heard of an electro-magnetic pulse? And why, for the love of god, do all of these robots have teeth? It’s not like they’re planning on eating anything.
Again, however, there are some pretty badass action sequences. The huge robot thing that’s capturing prisoners, for whatever reason, is a lot of fun to watch. And I’m a big fan of fixed camera action. When the helicopter crashes and all we get is a view from inside, that’s awesome. During a similar scene in Cloverfield, I damn near crapped my pants. But that brings up my ultimate point about the movie. Nothing about it feels new. It’s all just a rehashing of an old franchise, digging out used ideas from other movies in an attempt to breathe new life into a future where machines are trying to stomp the breath out of us.
And, of course, IMDB is reporting a sequel in the works. Who’s surprised? Because it sure as hell ain’t me.